ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Sam Smith The Thrill Of It All Capitol, out now
You know you’ve made it in music when your album is released in November. High hopes are pinned on Sam Smith’s followup to In The Lonely Hour, which sold million copies. Deeply sensitive and widely popular, he is the male answer to Adele.
After hitting the jackpot, it’s all too easy to make a difficult second album. Smith, who’s , has said that he found it hard adjusting to fame, but it doesn’t show here. There are no identity crises, no panic moves, no guest spots for Justin Bieber. Smith just carries on what he does best: emoting. He has such a presence at the microphone – intimate, tremulous, lachrymose – that it hardly matters what he’s singing. His natural habitat is the gospeltinged ballad, but he could find the hidden sorrow in Good Vibrations Vibrations. The best tracks here – Burning, HIM HIM, No Peace – glow with intensity. Even with a couple of Motown-ish chuggers, the sadness still lingers. Smith calls them ‘dance-and-cry songs’. Tears are not enough, ABC once assured us. In this case, they’ll do nicely.